Marcia Langford Perez's brother Gene once owned a small farm in north Florida. Here, each season, he would plant a few vines of rare grapes. When it came time to harvest, he chose his brother Philip as the vintner. This family affair quickly pulled in Marcia and her husband Gerald, who joined in tending the vineyards and making wine. After Gene passed away, Marcia decided to honor his legacy: she opened Wine Workshop and Brew Center, a polished craft store and urban winery dedicated to the art of independent brewing and winemaking.
Today, Marcia and her staff explore the ins and outs of winemaking during in-store classes and slumber parties in the fermentation tanks. They help visitors choose their grape or juice, blend the yeast, and?after a few weeks?collect, bottle, and label the finished wine. They also teach beer brewing in a series of weekly workshops, highlighting the partial-boil process and the uses of hops, yeast, and specialty malts. For those who want to try brewing on their own, the store also supplies ingredients and equipment such as fermentation containers, extract kits, base and specialty grains, and full wine kits from popular producers.
The term "pairing" brings to mind a highly sophisticated spread of rare spirits with fine meats and cheeses. But for Halloween 2014, Wild Heaven subverted this notion by serving samples of their craft brews beside bowls of Butterfingers and cherry Starbursts. That's because the founders run their brewery with a sense of humor and a desire to make their beers more accessible, even if you can't upload liquids to the internet yet. People can learn more about the nine seasonal brews during a tour, which provides samples as varied as White Blackbird, a saison infused with Korean pears and chardonnay, and Ode to Mercy, a winter imperial barrel-aged with Bulleit-soaked oak chips.